The big, new arc of the MLP saga has begun! How does ‘Siege of the Crystal Empire’ Part One fare? Let’s take a look.
Here’s the official description from IDW:
‘Siege of the Crystal Empire’ Part 1! A enigmatic new foe brings together some of the most villainous characters in Equestria to attack the Crystal Empire! What is their true aim and will our ponies be able to save the day?
After quite a few issues, the first really big event in awhile has arrived. I have nothing against mutant apples taking control for a little bit, but ‘Siege of the Crystal Empire’ is just what the book needed. At the core it’s a classic story: here we have this could-be new character cloaked gathering a few of the Mane 6’s adversaries to enact a plan of grandeur. It’s an engaging read as it incredibly builds to the grand ending.
I found it peculiar to see Andy Price paired with another writer this time: Jeremy Whitley. Katie Cook would have still been great of course, but Whitley’s tone worked great here. The story moves at a very solid pace. The three act structure is put to fantastic effect. In the first few pages we have this cloaked pony offering rewards to various Mane 6 enemies if they follow her plan. The second act greatly establishes the setting: the Crystal Empire faire. The ponies are suspicious that a bunch of old adversaries have arrived, yet in the third act the new enemy’s plan manages to come together. The final couple of pages does an extremely effective job unveiling who the cloaked pony is and the endgame goal. (Which unexpectedly and nicely ties into an older comic.)
Andy Price’s art shines throughout. Every panel is a treat to look at. A particular standout scene is when Queen Chrysalis becomes infuriated at Twilight calling her older. The main cover by Price features a beautiful shot of the four princesses. (It is certainly poster worthy!) The RI by Stewart McKenny is a cool piece resembling the layout of a classic comic book. The subscription variant by Sara Richard is a stunning portrait, though feels incomplete like it’s part of a bigger piece. Back on the writing side of things, it could be disappointing for Queen Chrysalis fans to see her get more of an underling role. On the plus side, it’s worth the price alone to see Pinkie Pie written in a threatening way, which was easily one of her finest appearances in all the franchise.
Overall, ‘Siege’ begins out with an excellent opener. The writing is engaging, funny, and doesn’t start to drag at any point in the slightest. Fans of the Queen could be disappointed, but I don’t think it will hamper the enjoyment. If the ending is any indication, we’ll have the greatest MLP event since “Reflections.”